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'Man of Steel' 3.5stars

British actor Henry Cavill distinguishes himself as a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve in this reboot that is big in every way. Boasting phenomenal effects, it is closer to "Avengers" than any of the previous Superman incarnations.

It begins with the expansive sci-fi opening on Krypton when Kal-El is born and his mother and his father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), send him from their dying planet to what they hope will be Earth's safe embrace. The circumstances of the infant's arrival and Jor-El's actions enrage General Zod (Michael Shannon), setting the stage for a future apocalyptic showdown.

Through flashbacks, we learn that young Clark initially was overwhelmed on Earth, his super senses magnifying every noise inside and outside his classroom and his X-ray vision making his schoolmates appear as frightening fleshy skeletons.

But he is blessed to have a calming mother (Diane Lane) and a wise father (Kevin Costner), who counsels Clark on the need to keep his extraordinary powers secret because when the world learns what he can do, it will change everything.

That proves to be a knotty question and answer, though, as fearless Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and the rest of the world discover.

Director Zack Snyder's movie, deserving of its PG-13 rating, is propelled by action, more action and then even more action for 2 hours and 23 minutes.

The story, however, is rich with threads about free will, hope, fathers and sons, and the potential of every person to be a force for good.

The extras include featurettes exploring the Superman mythology, the actors in training and the high-tech weapons and spaceships.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and destruction, and some rude language.

-- Post-Gazette

'Turbo' 3stars

In certain backrooms in shady parts of town, there are people, who must have a lot of extra time on their hands, presiding over snail races.

At least that's what occurs in the DreamWorks animated adventure "Turbo," a summer entry that like most movies starring bugs is fashioned for the wee ones.

Theo (voice of Ryan Reynolds) is a simple garden snail with impossible dreams of becoming an Indy racer. It rightly earns him the laughter and scorn of his snail community. His ambitions are particularly troubling to his brother, Chet (played to perfection by Paul Giamatti).

Thanks to a crow kidnapping, Theo suddenly finds himself in a scene right out of "Grease" in the dusty LA River. There, he's accidentally infused with nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas, which gives him race-car characteristics, and he's blasting off at a lightning 200 mph.

Theo's change of scenery from suburban lawn to inner-city taco shop eventually gives him a shot at competing in the Indy 500.

There's nothing more predictable than a racing movie, and we've seen this plot so many times (minus, of course, the snail), but first-time director David Soren does succeed in throwing in some creative twists.

These are characters we wouldn't mind seeing again.

Extras include the featurette "Team Turbo: Tricked Out."

Rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements.

-- Post-Gazette

ALSO THIS WEEK: 

■ "Dexter: The Complete Final Season": Although the cable series about a serial killer who works for the Miami police went out on a flat note, the series is still very strong. This set includes the final 12 episodes of the often bone-chilling Showtime series.

■ "Burning Love: Complete First Season": TV comedy that pokes fun at romance reality shows.

■ "Dallas: The Complete Second Season": Includes the final episodes with the late Larry Hagman.

■ "Combat!: The Complete Series": Vic Morrow starts in TV's longest-running World War II series (152 episodes)

■"The Day Kennedy Died": Interviews and rarely seen footage look at the hours leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

■ "Paradise": Academy Award winner Diablo Cody directs this tale of innocence lost and paradise found.

■ "The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas With Carol": Includes three hours of holiday comedy from the variety show.

■ "MADtv: Season Four": Features 25 episodes of the comedy series.

■ "NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians, Volume 1": Past and present NFL players and coaches voice animated personas.

■ "The Best of Dance Moms: The Championship Dances": Reality show about an elite group of young dancers and their demanding teacher.

■ "Power Rangers: Seasons 8-12": Includes "Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue," "Power Rangers Time Force," "Power Rangers Wild Force," and "Power Rangers Dino Thunder."

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers

 


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